Today marks the 16th consecutive day of rain in Tokyo. Yesterday’s TV news told us that this is the first time in 40 years that we have been so blessed. It is better than a water shortage, I guess. But when it comes to outdoor sports this August has been somewhat challenging. I have been lucky, managing to walk and cycle between the downpours. And this year I had an excellent companion for four rides this month. My brother Russ, sister-in-law Kim and neice Lindsey visited for the first two weeks in August. It was a previously unexerienced luxury to have them with us (it was their first-ever trip to Japan). Morning coffee with whoever was up early, fun rides with my brother, day trips around Tokyo, and our daily 5:00 pm wine time (in honor of my father) were all great fun. I don’t usually post much family news on this blog, but the first visit by my brother and family since we moved to Japan in 1989 certainly rates a post on “The View.” I think we were able to give them a memorable experience – there were 4 earthquakes, 1 typhoon, rain storms, heat and humidty, and voracious mosquitos to enjoy.
It is always fun to show a first-time Japan visitor around, because lets me ‘re-see’ Japan through their eyes. Though they were here for two weeks, we didn’t do many of the famous sights in Tokyo. There were many alternatives to those crowded scenes. Some highlights were eating dinner on our roof while watching fireworks, attending a Bon Odori dance in my neighborhood, visiting Hikawa Jinja (a large Shinto shrine) in Omiya with craft beer in the evening. Our only trip out of the Tokyo area was to Kanazawa, a 2+ hour shinkensen train ride. It is a town with a castle, famous Japanese garden, neighborhoods with traditional buildings, etc, and was a great way to sample several aspects of Japanese culture in a small area.
Here are a few of photos from the visit, as well as 2 route maps from a couple of 100 km rides Russ and I managed to fit in. Russ-Kim-Lindsey: if you are reading this, you must return before too many years go by!
And now for the rides! (Isn’t this the part you were waiting for?)
Russ and I were able to get in four good rides over the two weeks of the visit. Two times were 100 km routes; one around the city, over to Disneyland, up the Edo River, and back home. The other was out to Kawagoe City via the Arakawa and Irumagawa river dike system. Both were great fun. Warning: if you ride with Russ be prepared to pump those pedals.